Northwave aims to make pressure points "a thing of the past" with new road shoe

Italian firm shows off its 2017 road and MTB shoes

Italian shoe brand Northwave has shown off its new range of shoes, including the Extreme RR and Outcross ranges, at Eurobike 2016, telling BikeRadar that it has placed an emphasis on comfort.

The Extreme RR, the new range-topping road shoe from Northwave, has been developed by the design team to create an upper that uses a wire and dial system that completely eliminates any friction or pressure points. The X-Frame technology used in the upper balances and tensions for a seriously snug fit and one that in fact works best with just one SLW2 dial to operate.

Northwave founder Gianni Piva explains: "Pressure points on your feet are something every rider has experienced in his life on the saddle. So we have been working on the XFrame technology for so long, designing carefully every angle of the cable and choosing the softest materials ever for our shoes, and the result is a very innovative solution, providing by far the snuggest and most even fit on a road shoe. We feel very proud of this evolution, whose performance is immediately perceivable and makes pressure points a thing of the past."

The new Extreme RR is the shoe Northwave claims will eliminate pressure points
The new Extreme RR is the shoe Northwave claims will eliminate pressure points

The upper is constructed with a super-soft and super-thin (0.5mm) fabric that’s also very elastic and therefore comfortable. This material is reinforced with a mesh system for strength and this is controlled by a complex series of ribbed material reinforcements which also become the loops for the dial's cable. The positioning of this X-frame reinforcement ensures the uniform tightening and pressure point free fit. The cable is constructed with Dyneema (a light weight material that’s as strong as a steel cable but far more flexible, yet resistant to elongated stretching).

The RR's SLW2 dial is Northwave's own design
The RR's SLW2 dial is Northwave's own design

The super-stiff carbon sole is rated at 15 (Northwave's highest stiffness rating), it's compatible with the Northwave Speedplay adaptor and it's thin, too, with the distance between pedal and foot at just 0.5mm. 

The full carbon sole is the stiffest, thinnest and lightest Northwave has ever made
The full carbon sole is the stiffest, thinnest and lightest Northwave has ever made

The minimal construction also means minimal weight, so the Extreme RR tips the scales at a lowly 220g. Included in the package are two different footbeds to further improve fit, the Pro regular fit and the Pro Slim (which adds an extra 2mm toe insert for narrower feet). The Extreme RR will be available in black/fluoro and yellow fluro this autumn and priced at €369.99 (US, AU, UK pricing TBC).

The heel cup is lined with this cat's tongue style grip material for a secure fit
The heel cup is lined with this cat's tongue style grip material for a secure fit

New Northwave off-roader aims to be your go-to-shoe

Northwave pioneered the use of Michelin rubber in the sole tread of its MTB range back in 2014. For 2017 it has stepped up further, giving the Outcross Michelin technical soles. The Outcross is Northwave’s first attempt to create a shoe outside of the ‘normal’ mountain bike race categories of XC and Enduro. The Outcross is designed to work for anything: Northwave hopes this will become your go-to shoe, for those days when you could be riding a bit of everything. The aim was to combine the stiffness of an XC race shoe with a Michelin technical sole that’s easy to walk in and will provide plenty of grip to boot.

The standard Outcross has a 3D mesh upper with bonded protection and water resistant film treatment, but forgoes the SLW2 dial for a third velcro strap
The standard Outcross has a 3D mesh upper with bonded protection and water resistant film treatment, but forgoes the SLW2 dial for a third velcro strap

Andrea De Pascale from Michelin explained: "Northwave challenged us to create a sole that was different from what is on the market, to develop a special compound for Northwave that provided high-abrasion resistance with plenty of give and grip. We are experts in tyres so this project was a real challenge to apply our compound expertise into a new area. Now with the Outcross we have an outsole for Northwave that meets all of the needs of riders."

The multi-density outsole is by Michelin and built upon a super stiff base with soft compliant and grippy tread patterning bonded to it
The multi-density outsole is by Michelin and built upon a super stiff base with soft compliant and grippy tread patterning bonded to it

The range is topped by the Outcross Plus, which features a twin Velcro closure mated to a Northwave-exclusive SLW2 dial. The upper is constructed using a 3D mesh material onto which is bonded a wear resistant film with impact-resistant reinforcements and a water resistant film. The Plus is priced at €129.99 and weighs in at 440g, with the second tier Outcross featuring the same construction but with three Velcro straps at €99.99. 

The Outcross Plus is Northwave's new go-anywhere mountain shoe that it claims provides the stiffness of a XC shoe with the comfort and traction of an outdoor trail shoe
The Outcross Plus is Northwave's new go-anywhere mountain shoe that it claims provides the stiffness of a XC shoe with the comfort and traction of an outdoor trail shoe

The entry level shoe into the Outcross range is the Knit, which takes a very different path, replacing the Velcro and dial with good old laces (part hidden behind an elasticated lace saver) and the 3D mesh material coated with a soft touch cotton-like finish (hence the knit name). This provides a highly breathable shoe aimed more at the leisure end of mountain biking and e-bike use.

The lace-up Outcross Knit is the cheapest in the Outcross range
The lace-up Outcross Knit is the cheapest in the Outcross range

Warren Rossiter

Senior Technical Editor
Approaching two decades of testing bikes, Warren can be found on a daily basis riding and exploring the road and off roads of Wiltshire's Salisbury Plain in the UK. That's when he's not travelling the world to test the latest kit, components and bikes.
  • Discipline: Road
  • Preferred Terrain: Big, fast descents and rough surfaces like cobbles or strada bianca
  • Current Bikes: Decade Tripster ATR, Dedacciai Temarario, Cannondale Synapse, BMC Granfondo Disc Di2, Genesis Day One CX, Parlee Z Zero Custom, Storck Scenario Comp Custom, DMR Trailstar, Bianchi Pista, Cube SUV 29er e-bike
  • Dream Bike: Bianchi Oltre Disc, Bianchi Specialissima, Cannondale Slate, Buffalo Bike
  • Beer of Choice: Brew Dog Punk IPA
  • Location: Wiltshire, UK

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